East Texas Military Families Stay Connected During The Holidays

The stockings were all hung with care--just as they would have been if everyone would have been there.

"Knowing his schedule, the way it is, seeing Meredith and Lucas is really special."

That's what Cathy Shannon had to say after viewing a holiday greeting from her grandson and daughter-in-law.  Cathy's son, Brendan Shannon, served in Iraq and Korea as a pilot in the Air Force.  He and his wife, Meredith, along with their 2-year-old son, Lucas, are now stationed in Germany.

"It's not an easy life," said Lloyd Shannon, Capt. Shannon's father.  "I know they'd like to be together all the time, but that's just not the way it is in the military."

"When they're on the base and they see guys in their suits, [Lucas] looks and says, no daddy," said Cathy.

This year, Brendan's family will not make it home to Tyler for Christmas, at least not physically.

"It's hard to get even a total family picture when someone's away and can't get back," said Cathy.

Capturing those precious moments are that much more important, and around the Shannon house, voice messages are rarely deleted.

"'Lucas just had a little something to say.  Say, 'Bye MeeMaw.'  'Bye MeeMaw,'" echoed Lucas and Brendan's voices from the answering machine.

"He's a good pilot, great father, great husband--he loves every part of his life," said Lloyd.

He and his wife are proud of their son, and proud of his service.

"We wish them a Merry Christmas, and we love them dearly," said Lloyd and Cathy.

Layron Livingston, Reporting. llivingston@kltv.com